I - Jennie

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Jennifer Smith was a girl who never talked. One could not tell if she was simply shy and skittish, or cold and aloof. All I knew was that she never talked.

I met Miss Smith during enrollment prior to our first year of high school. While we were both new to this school, she was a transfer student from a neighboring town. I had been attending classes just one hundred yards away for the last nine years. Our school’s counselor knew this. While I was conversing with another one of our classmates, the counselor called me over. There, standing in the doorway of my high school’s library, I met Jennie for the first time. 

She was pretty, but not so much that you believed she desired to be seen. She was fair-skinned with a hint of bronze and her nose and cheeks wore a band of fading freckles, peppered by the summer sun. She had large light brown eyes, green in certain lights. Her eyes were focused, or perhaps, showed a sense of age that was beyond the rest of our peers. Her lips were tight, hiding a smile she only reserved for those who she trusted most. Back then, she wore her hair short, a recent change I understand, since only a few months before it had been much longer. It must have been quite the event when she let it go. Her hair was almost entirely dark brown, but with strands of red, giving it a color that would remind one of fine mahogany. She had the cutest nose. It’s such an odd thing, to think of something as mundane as a nose to be considered lovely, but it was. It brought all of her together subtly, a fine centerpiece to accentuate the natural beauty that surrounded it in this lovely being standing before me.  

She, however, wasn’t beautiful like you would consider some girls to be. My meaning, of course, was that she was not a girl in possession, by choice or apathy, of the type of beauty that is awarded luxuries like attention, fame, and social prestige, to girls of a certain mentality. I’m referring to “pretty girls”. Pretty girls are those girls, and sometimes boys, who spend hours in front of a mirror crimping and fluffing, drying and mystifying, so that they will be thought to be beautiful and loved by the masses; some not-so-pretty girls do it, as well. Jennie wasn’t one of those girls, however. She didn’t dedicate the time to doing those things other girls did. After all, such things are only skin deep, so they say. In fact, she was quite the opposite. I say that as kindly as I can. If she wanted to, she could have faded away into any room at any time she pleased, as she often would. She was simply an elusive sort of beauty. Of course, as I would one day find out, she could also be a beauty that could command any room, if the situation suited her, that is.

Of course, I didn’t think all this at the time. It is more something that I reflect upon and have come to realize years later. Back then, she was just another girl, one of those mysterious oddities of my species which, more often than not, confounded and terrified me. Still, this one seemed nice enough.

The counselor introduced us. She would be a new member of the little clan that was my fifty-member graduating class. I was asked by the councilor to show Miss Smith around the school, find out together where her locker would be and figure out where her classes would be. I was not inclined to deny the request. I, and another fellow classmate, walked Jennie around, showing her everything there was to see. The tour didn’t last long, as people who know us and know of the school, know there simply isn’t that much to see. I was nervous since I wasn’t yet used to meeting new people. Everyone in my class had basically been in my class since we were in diapers. Add to this, frankly, even though I had grown up going to middle school and elementary on the other end of the campus all these years, I had little idea of what was in the high School. Think about it, from my point of view. Why would I need to know? It is like the hotel down the street from your Mom’s house. Of course you have never been there. Why would you need to? In any case, I stumbled around, trying to figure out what was there only a little better than the brunette foreigner three paces behind. It was a case of the inept leading the blind, roles which at least she has evolved out of.

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